Four Decades Of Real Estate Litigation Experience
These cases are examples of the types of cases and matters we handled. This is not an exhaustive list, and we have simple, brief descriptions. We do not list the actual case names due to client confidentiality. We provide a generic case description for illustrative purposes as we take our duty to clients extremely serious. What greater confidential relationship exists in this country besides that of an attorney and his client? What greater sin is there than to breach that relationship? Although, many of our clients are well known and many of the cases we have been involved in have made the news, it is our approach not to list those here. Also, many times settlements of actual cases are confidential due to the requirements of a settlement agreement. As another example for using generic descriptions, Walt Disney could not have purchased so many orange groves in central Florida had his attorneys not kept the confidentiality.
Real Estate And Construction Litigation Example Cases
As a firm, we have had more than four decades of experience in real estate litigation with an emphasis on commercial property, residential development and construction litigation. We have handled thousands of such cases from pre-litigation, mediation, arbitration and jury trials through the appeals process. Some of the types of cases are as follows:
- Breach of contract – specific performance. Real estate contracts are often broken. We have represented several purchasers in breaches of contract including jury trials for specific performance. In one such case, our client was a developer of property and had a contract on property as a part of an assemblage. The owner of the property died before the closing and the heirs of the estate refused to close on the property. The heirs then got into a dispute about true ownership of the property, leaving our client with unassembled property they had already purchased. We were successful in litigation in enforcing the contract and requiring the estate to close on the property after a jury trial with numerous opposing law firms. In another case, we were able to obtain $300,000 for wrongful refusal to honor a contract regarding the sale and purchase of land. Not only were we able to obtain all damages and interest under the law, but we were able to prove bad faith and stubborn litigiousness and obtained all our client’s attorney’s fees.
- Commercial lease enforcement. We represent commercial landlords and tenants in enforcement of leases and restrictive covenants. We also represent commercial tenants and haves successfully obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial against a small business in an owner for damages and additional rent.
- Commercial lease – restrictive covenants. Commercial property often comes with restrictive covenants. We represent the Landlord in enforcing the covenants and tenants where the covenants are breached. In one such case we represented our client against a landlord that allowed a competitor to come into the same shopping center in violation of our client’s lease. Through heated litigation and discovery, we were able to show that our client was substantially damaged by the competitor which resulted in a multimillion-dollar settlement on behalf of our client.
- Condemnation. Often property is taken by the government leaving commercial property with a lessor and in some instances no value. We represent property owners in condemnation/eminent domain actions for then taking property for governmental and development purposes. This often results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and often multi-million dollars of damages.
- Construction litigation. We have represented numerous developers, contractors and subcontractors in cases for improper construction and have been able to obtain monetary damages as well as defense of such claims. As part of this practice, we have also represented numerous contractors in bringing litigation for substantial unpaid invoices.
- Construction litigation – arbitration. A substantial amount of the construction cases goes to arbitration because contract revisions require them. We have handled arbitration in most venues and are very adept in the arbitration process. We have had substantial success in representing clients in arbitration matters and have received substantial awards on behalf of our clients. We have further had awards substantially reduced in defending clients. In one such instance, we represented a custom home builder in arbitration by winning on most of the claims on a multimillion-dollar home and having the claims reduced by 75%.
- Construction litigation – defective construction. Defective construction claims are common and can lead to a substantial claim. In one such instance our client is a builder and developer. Litigation was filed against the company with allegations of fraud and defective construction. The uniqueness of this case is that the plaintiffs were attempting to rescind the entire contract although they had lived in the house for several years. They were also seeking more than $300,000 in damages. The plaintiffs contended that the house was built on top of springs and this was not disclosed at closing. We were able to obtain the appropriate experts to demonstrate that the house was built properly, and that the backyard was located in a recorded flood zone. We were further able to show that their failure to maintain the lot resulted in the problems that the homeowners were claiming. After a jury trial, the homeowners’ claims were turned down, leaving the client with no liability.
- Construction litigation – engineering and professional liability. We have represented clients in numerous construction litigation cases including infrastructure issues and water flow. Our clients have been property owners, contractors along with professional architects and engineers. One such instance we represented an engineer that was a defendant in litigation where an entire subdivision claimed that the engineering was inappropriately handled, resulting in extensive water flow problems on the property. Through discovery, we were able to show that the engineering standards were properly complied with and that the water flow problems were the failure of the association of homeowners’ and developer’s failure to comply with the engineering plans. This resulted in substantial reduced settlement for our client and during the litigation, we were even able to show the association of homeowners how to properly repair the property.
- Construction litigation – subrogation claims. Subrogation claims are often brought against contractors and professional by insurance carriers. One such instance we successfully represented a builder in a subrogation claim against the builder by a home warranty company. We then brought action against the home warranty company for attorney’s fees for the action and successfully won the claim for the builder on a motion for summary judgment.
- Construction litigation – water run-off. Developers are frequently sued by lower property owners over water issues. With our knowledge and expertise in these areas, we are generally able to show how the problem can be properly corrected and properly assess responsibility. Many times, water flow issues result due to extraordinary weather events and are a part of the natural course, leaving the developer without any responsibility. Most of these cases have been resolved through motions for summary judgment or substantially reduced settlements. Successfully obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial against a developer by a lower property owner seeking several hundred thousand dollars in damages for flooding alleged to be caused by the development. In one such instance we Successfully obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial against a developer by a lower property owner seeking several hundred thousand dollars in damages for flooding alleged to be caused by the development.
- Regulatory matters. We have represented real estate developers in zoning, regulatory and other governmental enforcement along mandamus litigation against governing authorities.
- Restrictive covenants. We have represented commercial property owners in adjoining property rights litigation and restrictive covenant violations and enforcement.